Obviously, travel is great, but do you know what’s not great? Lugging a huge suitcase or multiple bags along with you from city to city or even country to country. Why not ditch the ridiculously large luggage and switch it out with a backpack or small duffel?

Check out our tips to help you pack light for your next trip!

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Use HomeExchange


Swapping homes is a great way to avoid needing to bring too many items. Most homes on HomeExchange are equipped with towels, linens, cooking tools, and sometimes even toiletries. Make sure you check with your host ahead of time and see what amenities they provide, then pack what you need based on their information.

Buy travel scales for your bags


The last thing you want when traveling is to lug around a heavy backpack or suitcase as you try to navigate a new city, state, or even country. Do yourself a favor and invest in a travel scale to check the weight of your bag. If while packing you notice that it's getting to be too heavy for you, use your scale and adjust accordingly. Travel scales can also be helpful when you want to avoid pricey oversized luggage fees while flying.

Make a packing list


Writing down what you need to bring and sticking to that list is a great way to organize your packing process while avoiding the anxious urge to pack more than what you need. If you’re wondering where to start with writing your list, start with yourself! Go from your head to your toes: What do you need to bring that would go on your head? Maybe a hat, sunglasses, a comb, and chapstick. Then, work your way down to your feet (socks, shoes, etc.). Once you’ve finished with that, move on to medications, documents (like your passport), a wallet, and entertainment (like something to read). This also allows you to feel accomplished as you check things off and will help you remember what you packed.

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Use packing cubes


Packing cubes are absolutely essential for those hoping to travel light. They help you fold and organize your luggage, allowing you to pack more without taking up too much space. They’re also relatively cheap and easy to find in more stores and online. Make sure to buy enough: You won’t regret it!

Figure out what you can buy at your destination


Why bother filling up travel-sized bottles when you can purchase non-essential toiletries at your travel destination? You’re guaranteed to find the basics anywhere you go: shampoo, hair conditioner, lotion. However, if you’re loyal to a specific brand or have certain requirements, do research ahead of time and see if your destination has those products and consider placing an order for them ahead of time, if possible.

Bring an e-reader


Vacations can be a great way to catch up on your reading, but as great as physical books are, they can take up a lot of room in your luggage. Save room (and money) by using an e-reader or downloading an e-reader app on your phone. You'll be able to bring as many books as you want with you, all while taking up less space in your bag than a single book.

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With these suggestions, we hope that we will be doing you (and your back and shoulders) a favor by helping you pack light for your next vacation. With these tips and HomeExchange, you’ll be able to travel with peace of mind without the burden of an overstuffed suitcase.